Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law Tuesday that bans most abortions in the state and that supporters hope will lead to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The bill, the Unborn Child Protection Act (SB6), passed the state House 76-19 and the Senate 27-7. It includes an exception for the life of the mother. Pro-choice organizations say they will challenge it in court.
“It is time for the United States Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustice and the crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by its decisions in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” the bill’s legislative findings state.
Further, it compares the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide to the 1857 Dred Scott ruling that determined slaves were property.
“A crime against humanity occurs when a government withdraws legal protection from a class of human beings, resulting in severe deprivation of their rights, up to and including death,” the findings state. “... Since the decision of Roe v. Wade, approximately sixty million sixty-nine thousand nine hundred seventy-one (60,069,971) abortions have ended the lives of unborn children.”
The bill makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion. It also explicitly exempts the pregnant woman from any crime related to the abortion.
“A person shall not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency,” the bill says.
Hutchinson, a Republican, signed the bill despite misgivings about its lack of exceptions for incest and rape.
“I will sign SB6 because of overwhelming legislative support and my sincere and long-held pro-life convictions,” he said in a statement. “SB6 is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law. I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
State Rep. Mary Bentley, a bill sponsor, said she hopes the new law “will be the start to ending abortion in America.”
“It’s time for this decision to be overturned in the Supreme Court,” she said of Roe.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jeff Swensen/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.